TV Ratings: Broadcast News Coverage of U.S. Capitol Riot Dominates Wednesday


TV Ratings: Broadcast News Coverage of U.S. Capitol Riot Dominates Wednesday

News coverage of the riot that engulfed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. dominated broadcast network ratings on Wednesday night.

Both NBC and ABC shifted from their regularly scheduled programming to air primetime coverage of the violence in the nation’s capital city on Wednesday afternoon. In the overnight ratings, NBC topped all of its competitors across primetime, averaging a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.4 million viewers. ABC was second in viewers with 4.2 million and tied for second in the demo with a 0.7 rating.

CBS aired repeats from 8-9 p.m. before switching to news coverage as well. Overall, the network averaged a 0.4 rating and 2.5 million viewers for the night.

Fox was the only one of the Big Four networks to air new originals on Wednesday, with the network airing the time slot debut of “The Masked Dancer” and the series debut of the rebooted “Name That Tune.” The former show notched a 0.7 rating and 2.8 million viewers, halving its audience from the premiere on Dec. 27. The latter show retained all of its lead-in’s audience in the demo with a 0.7 and actually built on it in total viewers, averaging just over 3 million in its timeslot.

Fox was tied with ABC for second in the demo with a 0.7 and third in viewers with 2.9 million. Telemundo and Univision also aired news specials for the night. Univision finished fourth overall for the night with a 0.4 rating and 1.2 million viewers. Telemundo was fifth with a 0.3 and 1 million viewers.  The CW aired only repeats and drew a 0.1 rating and 286,000 viewers.

On Wednesday afternoon, supporters of President Donald Trump stormed and breached the U.S. Capitol Building as members of Congress were attempting to count the electoral votes that would formally declare Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.

Lawmakers were evacuated as the rioters breached barricades. Thousands of protesters, waving “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and shouting “stop the steal,” flooded Capitol Hill and paraded through National Statuary Hall, creating a tense standoff with law enforcement that dissolved into violence. Tear gas was deployed in the Rotunda and shots were fired. Video from the scene showed the demonstrators smashing windows and climbing into the building. Police inside the House chamber were seen with their guns drawn as people forced their way inside.

The governors of Maryland and Virginia dispatched state troopers and activated the National Guard to help quell the violence. Kayleigh McEnany, the president’s press secretary, also said that federal officers and National Guard would be deployed.


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